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Living Well Together at EB: G8 & G7 Students Head Back to Lower School

Emmanuel Labadie, Emma Ragot, Marlene Germain
After an almost three-year hiatus, French teacher Emmanuel Labadie has started taking his Middle School students back to the Lower School. This is part of M. Labadie’s longtime classroom tradition— to help encourage the younger students to read, work and play in French, while supporting the cognitive and social-emotional development of his Middle School cohort. This year’s theme is Living well together at EB: the older ones accompany the young ones! 
At the end of September, several 7th and 8th grade students paid a visit to second graders in Emma Ragot’s class and fourth graders in Marlène Germain’s class. “This experience has been proven very good for our Middle Schoolers’ self esteem around their French speaking skills,” says Emmanuel Labadie. “It is also an effective way to prepare our students for the DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française) exam that assesses the students’ oral, written and reading skills in French in 8th grade.”

For the Middle Schoolers themselves, it’s also a rewarding experience. Not only do they revisit their old stomping grounds, but they directly participate in the Lower School classroom, by helping their younger peers with their homework, reading, and other activities in French. 

For the younger students, the experience of having Middle Schoolers stand in as a teacher is exciting. “The students in G2 have been happy to welcome the ‘big kids’ and to be able to share some time together,” says Emma Ragot. “It’s the Middle Schooler’s turn to become the teacher: they must clearly describe and read instructions to the class, support certain students that need extra help, and work to ensure that each student has had the opportunity to speak in the group…they become role models for the younger students. Having younger learners listen to stories read by the older students allows my students to feel more motivated and comfortable reading aloud.”

This program serves both the Middle School and Lower School students in different, but equally important ways. Together, they explore collective strategies to write correctly, understand instructions and processes, and decode math problems, all in French.

Objectives for Middle School students include:
  • Developing self esteem
  • Improving reading and speaking in French
  • Preparing for the DELF exams
  • Practicing instructing in French
  • Reducing differences in French reading and speaking levels between students
  • Improving listening and reading comprehension
  • Creating and sustaining a desire to read
  • Introducing learning differentiation to Middle School students
  • Creating an educational link between Lower School and Middle School students
  • Strengthening the bonds of the EB community

Objectives for G4 & G2 students include:
  • Reinforcing spelling in French
  • Interacting with students of varying age-levels
  • Developing individual and collective strategies to write correctly
  • Understanding instructions
  • Requesting additional information in French
  • Self-motivating to improve their French, thanks to the tutoring of older students

This cross-collaborative program is a great connection point between our older and younger students. The Middle Schoolers remember themselves at that age and feel a sense of pride in being able to help their younger cohorts, while the Lower School students see role models in the students who come to work with them. This informal partnership fosters a love of reading and writing in all the students—opening doors to using the French language and written word in new and constructive ways. 

Marlène sums it up: “It has been a beautiful experience for all of us!” 

All Are Welcome! (Anti-Discriminatory Policy)

Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley does not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject any individual to discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This policy applies to all programs, services, and facilities, including applications, admissions, and employment.